It has been five years since my mother passed. Today would’ve been her 60th birthday. Thinking about it puts a lot in perspective. But I can deal with that later. For now? Let’s talk football.
- The circle is now complete. Larry Ogunjobi – once pegged to be an anchor in the middle of the Bears defense after inking a three-year deal worth up to $40 million before failing a physical voiding the deal – is signing with the Steelers on a one-year deal. Ogunjobi joins the likes of Chicago sports icons such as ex-Cubs outfielder Josh Hamilton and former Bulls center LaMarcus Aldridge, who headline a team headed by ex-Bears Head Coach Dave McGinnis. What a collection of names this trip down memory lane has brought us!
- For what it’s worth, the Bears did well in pivoting to Justin Jones to man that 3-technique position. But the defensive line remains full of question-marks. Once seen as a strength of Chicago’s defense, the departures of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Bilal Nichols leave this position group with what feels like an empty cupboard. Robert Quinn’s future being up-in-the-air doesn’t help matters. And while the scheme change provides someone like Trevis Gipson runway to take-off and prove himself worthy of an expanded role, the talent drain here is undeniable. It doesn’t worry me as much as the offensive line at this point, but it might not take much for me to get there.
- A reminder, courtesy of NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock: Solving offensive line concerns will be instrumental in Justin Fields’ growth. (NBCS Chicago)
- I can’t wait until Dan Orlovsky has to re-do his list because Fields blows past everyone’s expectations:
- Part of me still wonders why the team didn’t target an offensive lineman for depth purposes after putting Dakota Dozier on IR. Then again, I wonder if we should see the addition of a defensive back to fill that roster spot as a sign of things to come. Maybe the Bears like the makeup of their offensive line at this moment. This isn’t to say that group is a finished product. But if this year is about learning what your team has now and could have in the future, the open competitions in the trenches with who is already in camp figure to go a long way toward. Meanwhile, perhaps there is more uncertainty in the secondary than we might otherwise think.
- We can pencil in Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Eddie Jackson, and Jaquan Brisker as starters in the secondary. Tavon Young and Thomas Graham Jr. are battling for a spot as the Bears’ nickel corner, where Graham could emerge as a surprise winner. The Young signing was an interesting and inspired move, but we shouldn’t overlook his injury-riddled past. If Graham can stay healthy and prove worthy of the role, I can envision the Bears pivoting at the position to the younger and healthier player, then building out the depth in the position group with players who can also contribute on special teams.
- Which reminds me — Jayson Stanley, the cornerback brought in to fill the vacancy left by Dozier’s placement on IR, played on 129 special teams snaps in 8 games he was in on in 2020. That’s a 59 percent clip. Young never had that type of special teams workload in Baltimore, with his highest number coming in 2016 (31% of ST snaps). How this secondary shakes out will make for some fun summertime following.
- ICYMI: The Bears announced their training camp schedule. And I’m not even ashamed that I’m geeked up about it. Only 36 days until the first practice will be open to the public. If anyone needs me, I’ll be dreaming about waking up early to get my traditional training camp meal — two ham/egg/cheese crossainwiches from Burger King and a cup of coffee eaten while sitting in a parking lot listening to Taylor Swift.
- Halas Hall will once again play host to training camp, with 11 practices taking place at the team facility. Last year’s trips to Halas Hall were a treat for me. Not just because it was our first camp after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because it was great to interact with so many fans over those days. I’m looking forward to seeing more of you in July and August. And I hope you feel similarly.
- Players competing in the USFL can sign with NFL teams after July 3. With that in mind, Alex Ballentine (Bleacher Report) shares a handful of names who are worthy of consideration of a look from NFL teams.
- Finding this game in the midst of their comeback while casually channel-surfing on a Tuesday night was a pleasant surprise:
- While our friends at BN Bulls prepare for the NBA Draft, our pals at BN Blackhawks are celebrating an anniversary:
- What a kind gesture:
The Injury Bug Bites, Fans Impressive Performance, Behind the QB Chaos, We Missed Watching Fields, and Other Bears Bullets
More Moves Happening, Venezuelan Home Run Derby Fun, Cubs Getting All Scienc-y, and Other Cubs Bullets